About this Show

Frontline

Raising Adam Lanza News/Business. (2013) The life of Adam Lanza, and his possible motives for shooting children; gun culture and laws. (CC) (Stereo)

NETWORK
PBS

DURATION
01:00:00

RATING

SCANNED IN
Annapolis, MD, USA

SOURCE
Comast Cable

TUNER
Channel 91 (627 MHz)

VIDEO CODEC
mpeg2video

AUDIO CODEC
ac3

PIXEL WIDTH
1920

PIXEL HEIGHT
1080

TOPIC FREQUENCY

Nancy 47, Adam 42, Connecticut 9, Asperger 7, Ryan 7, Pbs 7, Peter 5, Nancy Lanza 5, Adam Lanza 4, New Hampshire 4, Sandy Hook Elementary School 4, Peter Lanza 3, Marvin 3, Nssf 3, Senate 3, Hartford Courant 3, Sandy Hook Promise 3, John 3, Eugene Bell Foundation 2, Corporation For Public Broadcasting 2,
Borrow a DVD
of this show
  PBS    Frontline    Raising Adam Lanza  News/Business.  (2013) The life of Adam  
   Lanza, and his possible motives for shooting children; gun...  

    February 20, 2013
    1:30 - 2:29am EST  

1:30am
the following is part of a series of pbs special reports >> tonight, a special edition frontline. >> tragedy of unspeakable terms... >> multiple kids, 20 kids in fact... >> frontline and reporters from the hartford courant set out to investigate two important stories. first, haunting questions. who was adam lanza? >> adam had episodes where he would completely withdraw. >> and what clues are there in his relationship with his mother? >> he was never violent. she never feared him. >> nancy lanza is the person adam was closest to in the world. if we can begin to understand
1:31am
adam's relationship with nancy, we probably can begin to understand adam. >> and in our second story, a town divided over guns. >> when they pass a law that violates the constitution, i will not comply. >> and how the shootings have moved grieving newtown residents to join the debate. >> you have a tremendous power. and the fact that you're from newtown is even more important. >> we cannot be defined as a culture that accepts this. >> things must change. this is the time. >> these two stories in this special edition frontline. >> frontline is made possible by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. and by the corporation for public broadcasting. major support for frontline is
1:32am
provided by the john d. and catherine t. macarthur foundation, committed to building a more just, verdant and peaceful world. more information is available at macfound.org. additional funding is provided by the park foundation, dedicated to heightening public awareness of critical issues. and by the frontline journalism fund, with a grant from millicent bell, through the millicent and eugene bell foundation.
1:33am
>> it's been a week since the shooting. (bell tolling) for most of the journalists in this newsroom, they've never covered anything that came close to being as horrific as this. it is a singular event in the history of connecticut. (bell tolls) >> narrator: a week after adam lanza massacred 20 children and six adults at sandy hook elementary school, church bells tolled across the state. memorials were erected to the 26 victims. president obama read out 26 names. but there was a 27th person murdered that day-- the gunman's
1:34am
mother, nancy lanza. >> nancy lanza is the person adam was closest to in the world. she was the first person he killed. he shot her four times in the head while she was in bed, and then he went off to sandy hook elementary school. if we can begin to understand adam's relationship with nancy, we probably can begin to understand adam. >> one of the things that josh and i talked about early on when we were given this assignment is the fact that it didn't seem like nancy was ever really mentioned as a victim in this case. we had heard a lot of different things about her through other news outlets. we weren't even sure if they were true. we come to find out later that some of them weren't. >> we knew there was some diagnosis, some... deficit, some social deficiency, and how that complicated their relationship and what it took to bring this kid along, and some... to some
1:35am
degree what happened, those were our marching orders. >> there are going to be many obstacles in reporting the story. the cops aren't saying much, they're still sort of holding back. the family members in this case are very reluctant to talk. >> and adam left very little behind. it's surprising that someone in this era where almost everything makes an imprint can still leave very few imprints along the way. there's been this firestorm of coverage and some of it was right, some of it was wrong. >> people are just worn out from having reporters knocking on their doors, calling their house. they see another reporter and they think, why would i want to talk to you after all we've been through? >> when i found out about the connecticut shootings, i closed the door to my office and just started to shake. >> narrator: from the outset, the question was raised again and again in the media: was nancy a victim or was she to blame? >> are there firearms around
1:36am
your house? >> oh, my goodness, no. having the child that i have i would never own a firearm. i would never have firearms in my house. and i think that's just a responsibility issue. >> narrator: the story begins in kingston, new hampshire. nancy jean champion grew up here, and in 1981 would marry peter lanza. eventually they built this house on the champion family's land. they had a son, ryan, in 1988. and four years later, along came adam. >> the person that we're going to talk to, he described himself as a dear friend. he seems to have been involved with her a lot before she left new hampshire so i think he can tell us about life with adam in the early days. >> narrator: this is the first time that marvin lafontaine has spoken to the media. >> tell me how you first met nancy? >> through the scouts. >> okay, do you remember what
1:37am
year she actually joined the cub scouts with the boys, what year it was? >> '94, '95. >> 1994-95. >> nancy was there for every single meeting with her kids. she never missed one. those kids were everything to her and she was very, very protective over them and i understand that. i was very protective over mine too. >> just in terms of adam, what do you remember seeing? >> just a quiet kid. kept to himself. there was a weirdness about him and nancy warned me once at one of the scout meetings. she said, just so you know, and she said i know you wouldn't do this, but just so you know, don't touch adam. i go, well, i wouldn't touch him. she goes, i don't mean like that but i mean like don't do "at a boy" thing or shake his hand and say "way to go, brother." she said, "he just can't stand that." >> did you ever see a reaction to touching? >> yeah, he'd become upset. usually it would be one of the other kids, you know, one of the kids-- they're kids, you know,
1:38am
they don't care and they touch him and, um, i don't know, he was angry with them. >> narrator: marvin's and nancy's young children were friends through the cub scouts. in this exclusive home video filmed by marvin, nancy helps her brother james, a police officer, set up a demonstration for the scouts. (adam imitating dog bark) >> he sounds like a dog. >> narrator: that's adam, age four and a half, walking towards the camera. >> did she talk about special programs adam was in at school? >> she said he was coded. >> and describe coded to me? >> iep, individual education plan. i could see it was bringing her down. she didn't know what to do and, um, there's a lot of counseling help available but not all of it's good and she was very particular about who she would bring him to.
1:39am
she often didn't trust, you know, the intentions of some counselors, that maybe they didn't know what they were doing or they didn't understand the situation enough to help. >> narrator: children with disabilities are entitled to an individualized education program, known as an iep. for nancy, it would be the first of many efforts over the next decade and a half to keep a struggling adam on track. >> and then they decide to go to connecticut. >> it was her husband's idea, and she didn't want to go at first. >> was it because he got the job at ge? is that what it was? >> yeah, he got the job. he made a lot of money, he was very successful. the good thing is that she said she thought the schools in connecticut were better. there was more stuff there to help him versus new hampshire, and she was very pleased about that. >> narrator: it was 1998 when peter's job took the family to
1:40am
the affluent suburb of newtown. they settled into the spacious home where nancy and adam would spend the rest of their lives. nancy and marvin kept in touch by e-mail. >> friday, may 21, 1999, nancy writes to marvin: "adam is in two plays next week. ryan was in one last night. it has been so cute to watch them rehearse. adam has taken it very seriously... even practicing facial expressions in the mirror!" the e-mails at one point do turn a little dark. she does talk about how she was ailing. she doesn't specify what her disease is, but on thursday, july 1, 1999, she writes: "my diagnosis was not good. there isn't a fancy name for my problem, just a genetically flawed autoimmune system. when it happened to my grandfather, it was so quick that nothing could be done. six weeks. it's like living on top of a time bomb. i have told very few people"-- and she highlights "very" in all caps-- "and have not
1:41am
told even some people in my family to try to save people from unnecessary worry." narrator: it has been reported nancy had multiple sclerosis, but frontline and the hartford courant were unable to confirm. >> wednesday, march 31, 1999, nancy writes: "ryan's and adam's birthdays are coming up. ryan is having an "old friend" party and a "new friend" party. adam is having only a "new friend" party, but he has 26 new friends! adam is doing well here, and seems to enjoy the new school." what an adorable class, huh? and where's your son? wait, don't tell me. i'm gonna guess, i'm gonna guess. there. >> no, that's adam. >> oh, that's adam? >> yeah. >> narrator: the new school adam was so fond of was sandy hook elementary school.
1:42am
he was six years old and in the first grade. wendy wipprecht's son miles, who is autistic, was in adam's class at sandy hook. and was invited to his "new friend's" birthday party. wendy now has parkinson's. >> adam had his sixth birthday party and invited a group of kids to go. that's where i remember talking with nancy. nancy was concerned about adam. he was shy, a little withdrawn, quiet. she was worried that perhaps he had some kind of neurobiological condition. >> wendy, were there any support groups? >>oh, sure. >> did you ever participate in any? >> sure. did you ever hear whether nancy did? >> none of the ones that i was in, but she was talking about
1:43am
sending adam to st. rose because classes were smaller and she thought he might do better there. >> did she say why she thought he needed... >> i think it was his shyness and uncomfortableness, i guess, in large social situations. a class of 20 people is a lot for a six-year-old to handle. >> so did he not have a one-on- one aide like miles did? >> no. he may not have been diagnosed with anything at the time. what can pass inspection at six often is not going to pass inspection, say, at nine. but at whatever age, even if you're merely suspicious, it's a kind of awful thing to have to deal with. >> so nancy, she sort of did it on her own. what do you think that would have been like for you to do it on your own? >> oh, impossible.
1:44am
>> narrator: soon after moving to newtown, tensions develop between nancy and her husband peter. in her e-mails to marvin lafontaine, she described him working 16-hour days and growing distant. >> (on phone): this is alaine griffin calling from the hartford courant. >> narrator: the hartford courant has made repeated attempts to reach peter lanza. >> it's probably tough to talk to the media, but we were hoping to get in touch with you because we feel you can help us to correct what has been reported out there in terms of this story. we have reached out to multiple family members. there wasn't anybody that wanted to go on the record and speak with us but we developed along the line was a family member who was willing to give us an e-mail that gave us some really good information about adam that had not been out there before. we learned through this e-mail that while peter and nancy did get divorced in 2009, peter
1:45am
actually had been out of the house in 2001. >> peter lanza continued to support his family financially. >> narrator: the e-mail also said that adam as a young boy had been diagnosed with sensory integration disorder-- a not widely accepted diagnosis involving difficulties processing and reacting to stimuli. later, in middle school, the family member said adam would receive another diagnosis: asperger's, a form of autism that interferes with social interan. >> i want to talk a little bit about the middle school years. because isn't this when we start to hear about adam having problems that go beyond just the diagnosis of sensory integration? >> we were told around middle school... the middle school years. >> right. there was the initial diagnosis, and then the diagnosis of asperger's. >> and that goes to... social isolation, inability to communicate with others.
1:46am
but there's nothing, there's nothing that connects asperger's to the kind of violence we saw at... >> absolutely nothing by itself, absolutely nothing. >> family members have told us that when middle school came upon adam and the whole idea of changing classes and being in the hallways, that was too much for him. >> why? do we know why? >> the noise and the chaos disrupted him, is what we were told. >> so she moves him out of the public school system and into st. rose of lima? >> she didn't move him into parochial school right away. initially she had this special program set up for him. he was under the supervision of newtown schools, but he would do some of his work offsite and at home. and then he would later return to the school when the rest of the students weren't there. >> okay. and after st. rose of lima, though, back to newtown high school, which is a big school. so why if movement and, and people being around him are a problem is he back at newtown high? >> i don't know. >> we don't know?
1:47am
>> narrator: changing schools again, adam arrives at newtown high school in 2006 and receives special education help. though painfully shy and awkward, he joins the school technology club at the urging of the club's advisor, richard novia. >> i knew him for about four years, between the middle school and the high school. i identified him as a person who would be likely to be bullied or picked on and that's when i began to interact with his mother. how was it that she was dealing with him and what could i do? >> and what did she say about that? >> she was failing at bringing him out of his little world. and i said that i think i can help him. >> what was her reaction to that? >> she didn't think it would work. >> how often do you recall nancy being on campus on a weekly basis? >> there were periods of time where i think i saw her two or three times a week, and then you'd have a good month or two and i'd see her once. >> why would she typically be there on a two or three...? >> adam had episodes, it was the
1:48am
best way i can describe them to you... uh, where he would completely withdraw. he would become accustomed to certain things and when you try to raise that level or bar, he would pull back. >> you mean a change? >> yeah. he would avoid the crowds in the halls. people rushing to the cafeteria, rushing to get to classes-- that would make him nervous. where he felt fearful of other people. but over time i was able to get closer and closer to him to a point where i felt i could sit next to him and he wouldn't pull away. he wouldn't withdraw. >> did nancy acknowledge that and let you know that she recognized that? >> yes, she saw it working. >> did you get a sense that in his development he was at a crossroad? >> i think adam had come a long ways. there's a picture out there that shows him standing up with the other kids. there's this funny little face on him. he's not quite smiling.
1:49am
i was there when those pictures were taken and i can tell you that to have adam stand for that picture proves there was success. so the problem happens after. he goes backwards. >> narrator: these photographs were obtained exclusively by frontline. news reports to the contrary, nancy never spoke of disagreements with the school and believed adam would grow up to be a functional adult, according to the family member's email. the relative went on to describe adam as brilliant, saying he played the saxophone and studied mandarin chinese. and yet, in 2008 nancy removes him from newtown high. >> when you left for other pursuits in july of 2008, did you learn that nancy took adam out of high school? >> yes. >> why do you think she pulled him out? >> i don't know. i've pondered this issue for a long time, i've often wondered if she felt one of his main
1:50am
support networks was no longer there. i don't know. >> so you don't feel like you're in a position to know whether that was a good idea or a bad idea? >> it was a bad idea either way. you have a boy who was receiving a tremendous amount of support. suddenly when she pulls him out of there, he loses all those support groups. that's where he would have fallen farther and farther into his problems because he didn't have the mental health support group that he once had. >> richard, when it was observed that adam in high school was playing violent video games, did anyone try to dissuade him? >> a lot of kids were playing violent video games. adam had shown at that point early on some high interest in the violent aspect of those games. >> you know that first hand? >> i remember that he would love to... he would opt to sit on the computer playing games like that rather than to go play ddr,
1:51am
which is dance dance revolution. >> you would remember what game he may have played? >> my best of my recollection, and some people have said there are other games too, but it was world of warcraft at that time. there's a lot better games now. >> did it ever come to your attention that nancy was into shooting sports? >> no, that shocked me to hear that nancy would have had anything to do with guns. >> what we understand is that she did shoot with ryan and adam at a range. >> yes, that was a mistake. >> why, richard? >> i have a child who loves to do the hot rod driving simulator on the tv, playing the video games. i should have been able to foresee that my son loved the speed when i bought him his first car. and it wasn't a couple of weeks after that that he got ticketed for 100-and-something miles per hour on a town street in newtown and i went well, okay, that was my mistake. >> you own firearms? >> yes, i do. >> and you believe shooting with ryan and adam was a mistake? >> yes i think it was a mistake
1:52am
on her part. and it cost her her life, and that's the sad thing. it cost her her life, that mistake. >> narrator: having left newtown high, adam, who was still only 16 years old, begins taking classes at western connecticut state university. the email from a family member says nancy was pleased to see him in a more adult environment. but soon adam withdraws from that school, too. >> what we're looking at is this string of changes, and we understand that change wouldn't have sat well with adam because of his disposition, his disorder. his life was marked by change. nancy struggled to find an educational fit. public school, private school, public school again. home school, high school, no high school, college, no college. >> 2009, the divorce happens
1:53am
after years of being separated. 2010 comes and adam cuts off his relationship with his dad. >> he didn't have much to do with ryan after that either. so there is some isolation there. >> narrator: after adam leaves college, information about his life is hard to come by. >> this part of his life was difficult to get a fix on because he wasn't in a place where others could say, "yeah, i saw him, yeah, i did this with him, yeah, he did that." we understand that he worked at a computer shop. we haven't been able to find the one that hired him. >> no, i didn't see him in here. >> but it could have been someone's house, it could have been a small shop. >> we did learn that nancy was working to make her son more independent. she was going on trips and leaving adam at home. she was very excited at the fact that he got his driver's license
1:54am
in 2010. >> she was the dominant and perhaps only significant relationship in his life. until the end. >> narrator: the courant has learned that investigators have speculated privately that adam may have carried out the shooting in a manner consistent with video gaming, changing his weapon's magazine frequently, even though it was not empty. federal agents have told reporters that nancy and adam visited shooting ranges together as recently as several months ago. >> she was doing a lot of work on her house. we talked to a contractor who spoke about nancy taking the boys to the range. she excitedly showed him a rifle that she had acquired in a case, a beautifully crafted piece that he said she was very enthusiastic about. >> narrator: starting in 2010, she purchased guns that adam would use at sandy hook elementary school, including the bushmaster assault rifle. but guns were nothing new for nancy lanza. >> nancy knew how to use guns.
1:55am
her father trained her. i have 35 acres and i got a sand pit out there and i have rifles, and we'd shoot together. in fact, one of the activities at the cub overnight weekends was shooting 22s at a rifle range. i think that was the first exposure the kids had to a firearm, and they found it's fun. target shooting is fun. >> did adam shoot? >> yeah, they all did. and adam aspired to be like his uncle. >> really? >> yeah. he was in the military and she was very proud of that and she allowed him to believe that, "yeah, you're gonna be like your uncle." depending on how he turned out. sometimes people can overcome that with medication, counseling, whatever. they can and do. and i think maybe she was hoping for that. and then one day i think she realized, probably not too long ago, there's no way this kid could do this. it's not for him. when she realized that, i think
1:56am
she started to discourage him. >> nancy had a group of friends that she hung out with at a restaurant in newtown, and many in that group feel that nancy has been forgotten in all of this. mark, the owner of the restaurant, he said there were about four friends that probably would be willing to talk to us. and john is one of them. are there any other posts we could look at that nancy wrote? >> she did not post a lot. >> she didn't, huh? >> she posted on my page, but they're so far down... >> narrator: john bergquist first met nancy at my place two years ago. >> in the first media frenzy, you'd see a lot of things pop up on your tv or in the papers that just, you know, they rushed to get these facts out that weren't accurate. she's been described as some
1:57am
sort of gun nut or survivalist, and maybe another misconception that she was a bad mother, but she did everything she could. >> did she talk to you about adam? >> she did. >> did she ever specifically tell you that he had asperger's? >> yes, she told me he had asperger's. >> but did you get a sense that it was time consuming or emotion consuming? >> she was always very positive, never talked about having a rough day. that could be that when she came into the bar, that was her release and maybe she didn't want to talk about things like that, but i can't ever remember nancy having a rough day and just unloading on me. >> john, was it your impression that not a lot of people went into the house? not a lot of visitors, even friends, or did they go into the house? >> no, not a lot of people went into the house. nancy was very particular,
1:58am
just like me. i'm a little bit of a neat freak and i just assumed that she was towards the more extreme end, but i don't think that was it. maybe that was a little bit of an excuse and i think that adam was uncomfortable having too many people around. >> do you think that it would have been reasonable to question whether the firearms and his exposure on the range and the shooting was anything but enjoyable to him, or anything that he appeared not to want, that she would have continued? >> that thought never crossed my mind because he was never violent, she never feared him. it was a way for them to bond. i think it was one way that she could connect with adam because they have a very hard time connecting with people and maybe finding an activity that they both enjoyed was her way of bonding with her son.
1:59am
>> did you ever get the sense that she was in denial of his asperger's, or do you think she fully embraced the diagnosis? >> i think she fully embraced that diagnosis and she was taking it on the way that she thought was best, making sure he was going to lead as normal life as possible. >> how do you know that? >> i know she was a planning on, you know, going wherever he wanted to go in the country to go to college. she was talking about washington state. i don't know a specific school, but i don't think it was against his will. i think it was either his decision or something that perhaps they discussed. and i don't think that it was a factor in using him to snap. if he said that he didn't want to go, she wouldn't have insisted. >> narrator: planning for the
2:00am
move was in advanced stages according to mark tambascio, owner of my place, who declined to speak on camera. >> she used to say, "mark, i really hope adam gets to a point where he can take care of himself and i don't have to be there all the time." she'd been looking for a school for him, a special school so he could finish out his college. >> she told you that? >> yeah, for a couple of years she's been looking. >> did she actually find something rock solid? >> i think so because she said she had sold her tickets. >> sold her... >> she was like the biggest red sox fan ever, so... >> narrator: nancy loved the boston red sox. she and peter had season tickets and split them, one of the few things spelled out in their divorce agreement. frontline and the courant have made numerous attempts to identify which school nancy was planning to enroll adam in, but were unable to confirm. >> over the month since the tragedy in newtown, we've heard from so many, and obviously none
2:01am
have affected us more than the families of those gorgeous children, and their teachers and guardians, who were lost. >> change would not sit well with him. something as profound as moving from newtown would be disturbing for a kid who has trouble walking down a crowded hallway. a contractor told us that she had wanted to sell the house for a couple of years. so i don't think that was something that came up, this idea of moving, right before the tragedy. the question is was he driving it or was she driving it? >> everything we've heard points to the fact that they were getting ready to go someplace. we really don't know if he wanted what she was planning. has anyone raised the possibility that he shot her because he didn't want to go where she was taking him? >> no one's ever talked about it, but she really wanted him
2:02am
to get a degree. and surprisingly, he didn't want to major in science or computers, he wanted to major in history. when a family member questioned, "you're going to move out of new england?", she told the family member, "you never turn your back on your kids." >> she was a decisive woman. she chose, we think, not to be involved in the groups in newtown of parents who have autistic and asperger's kids. >> well, wouldn't you think that would be to both his and her benefit to get involved with those groups? >> you would. >> it could have been an issue of ignorance. it could have also been an issue of denial. >> so do we know anything about the few days leading up to sandy hook, leading up to friday, as far as adam went? nothing? what about nancy? >> we do know she was in the a fine dining room of a hotel. she facebooked her friend john bergquist. >> i'll read it to you, josh. she says, "i am sitting at dinner at a place that requires formal attire.
2:03am
the young couple next to me, dressed to kill but covered in tattoos, too funny!" and then john mentions, "hopefully we can get together soon for dinner during the holidays." and then she says, "that would be fun, let me know, just be forewarned, tattoo girl has talked me into a dragon tattoo." so was she considering getting a dragon tattoo? >> no, that was her humor. i'm sure she didn't even talk to the couple, but she was just being funny there. >> i see, i see. >> she had an excellent sense of humor. >> narrator: the following day, nancy came back from new hampshire to the house she still shared with her 20-year-old son. what happened next is still a mystery-- the investigation may take months-- but that night, nancy went to sleep in her own bed. at some point before she awoke, adam went to her gun collection.
2:04am
passing up the semiautomatic weapons he would use later, adam picked up nancy's .22 caliber rifle, the kind of gun he first learned to shoot. and at close range while she slept, he shot the woman who raised him four times in the head. then he got in the car his mother taught him to drive and headed towards his old and headed towards his old elementary school. (bell tolling) (bell tolling) >> ...police responded...
2:05am
>> ...tragedy of unspeakable... >> ...police confirmed what we feared, that the children... >> they got an automated phone message from the school that the schools were in lockdown. and then we got the news that there had been a report of a shooting at sandy hook school. and i ran out the door, i just... i headed to the school quickly. there's a firehouse down the street from the school where they were having everybody assemble. and they were bringing all the students and personnel out of the school and having us meet there. and my friend melissa had collected her second grader and she asked her husband to pick him up and bring him home.
2:06am
and i said tmelissa, "you should go home and be with him." and she said, "oh no, i'll stay with you until you get daniel." >> and then finally the governor came and said, "if you're missing someone, they didn't survive." >> we have funerals for olivia engel at 1:00 at saint rosa lima and dylan hockley in bethel. same thing we've been doing-- just be outside, respectful
2:07am
distance. is there anything else we need in newtown daily developments beyond that happening, anything we know of? >> yeah, one of the teachers, her stepfather is a reporter here. and i think as sort of a defense mechanism i thought, "it couldn't be," you know? "we'd know already something." and eventually it was confirmed. so, you know, a story that was difficult enough for all of us to report anyway was, you know, that much more emotional, that much more difficult. >> the sort of overarching issue that i'm looking at is whether or not sandy hook truly is a tipping point in the debate over
2:08am
gun violence, and that whatever the solutions are out there, these 20 innocent children lost, this will make a difference. and i'm sort of examining that optimism against the reality that the gun control debate in america is exceedingly divisive. >> it is a sad honor to be here today. it's been one month since i lost my son dylan, and 25 other families lost their loved ones. the sandy hook promise is the start of our change. this is a promise to do everything in our power to be remembered not as the town filled with grief and victims, but as the place where real change began. >> this is a promise to be open to all possibilities. there is no agenda other than to make our communities and our nation a safer, better place.
2:09am
>> yeah, i'm matthew kauffman with the hartford courant. can you give us a sense of how active you intend to be? do you anticipate a point at which sandy hook promise would actually be testifying, lobbying, if you will? >> we have to take the time to educate ourselves. we have to take the time to have that dialogue. but absolutely, there's going to become a moment in time where we're going to take those positions. we're a platform for people to come together with one voice and actions to move us forward. >> some of us who came together to start sandy hook promise are gun owners. we hunt, we target shoot, we protect our homes, we're collectors, we teach our sons and daughters how to use guns safely. passing a new law and then moving on is not the answer. we have to fundamentally change our approach. (gunshot) >> so that's... that's pretty dead center. >> pretty dead center.
2:10am
>> a lot of people were surprised at how many guns nancy lanza owned and the type of guns that they were. but in fact there's a strong gun culture in newtown. a lot of hunters, a lot of target shooters, a lot of gun owners. >> after december 14th, everybody's been asking, has it changed how i felt about firearms? and to be honest, no. i mean, this is how i've thought. >> do you feel yourself sort of under attack as a responsible firearms owner? >> i have friends who are devout nra members who believe that the second amendment gives everybody the right to own any firearm. vice versa, i have friends here in town who believe that all firearms should be confiscated and destroyed. and i'm somewhere in the middle. as far as a ban on 30-round
2:11am
clips, it's a common sense law that would absolutely save lives. and there's going to be a bunch of people upset that i said that. >> do you feel, "oh, no, i'm betraying, you know, the gun enthusiast community here"? >> i will lose friends. i'm sure of it. >> we are heading to the home of a gentleman named scott ostrosky. newtown resident, has kind of a private amateur shooting range on his property that has been the subject of a number of complaints by folks who live in the neighborhood. >> we've gotten complaints of noise, because we have a neighbor that's been more sensitive to the shooting in the past couple of years. and the police have been over
2:12am
here many times. they have saidt was safe, and we've become buddies with them. >> and there are complaints that are from all over the town going to the police. is there something that changed in newtown? >> yes. a lot more people live here now. and a lot more outsiders have moved in. and these are people that moving to newtown is big country to them. these are people that, in my opinion, came from new york city, or the suburbs of new york city, or any urban environment, and they're not used to what goes on in newtown, or what has been going on. and then you get that conflict. it's just, you know, growing pains in a situation like this. >> each of these red dots represents a home from which a complaint was lodged with the police about the sound of gunfire near these homes. i think this was 2010 to the first part of 2012. 85 noise complaints related to shooting, spread pretty broadly throughout the town. so last year the town decided to do something about it.
2:13am
joel, how are you? >> nice to see you. come in. >> thanks. >> i think it had just reached sort of a critical mass of a number of complaints. so we set this ordinance up, and it would say, "look, you cannot shoot a gun in newtown unless you're doing legitimate hunting, or you have a legitimate shooting range." >> did this feel like controversial legislation ordinance to you? as you were drafting it, did you think... >> not in the least. absolutely not in the least. i never expected that there would be any significant opposition to it. they had two public hearings on it, and there were a lot of people there, and they were very vocal in opposition to the ordinance. >> these are the minutes of the meetings that were held. "necessity should be the standard, not simply prudence." you know, "gunfire is a reminder of freedom." one person notes that no one in attendance has spoken in favor of the ordinance. so really, you know, very strong emotions over, again, what i
2:14am
think the town thought was a noise ordinance. >> and it all had to do with their ability to maintain arms, and somehow this would infringe their second amendment rights. >> any inkling at all that you might be opening up a second amendment debate here? >> no, because the second amendment has nothing to do with shooting ranges. it doesn't say the right to have a shooting range shall not be infringed. >> this all happened in the months before the shootings, and only a handful of people showed up in support of the ordinance. the town meetings were dominated by pro gun enthusiasts, and the ordinance was tabled. and that really illustrated the long history that newtown has with guns. in fact, the trade group for the whole gun industry is located right here-- the national shooting sports foundation. within newtown, is the nssf known? i've talked to a number of people in town that said, "i had no idea they were here." >> well, connecticut is not well known now for being a state of great firearms ownership.
2:15am
but ironically, connecticut is where the firearms industry got its beginning. all the major manufacturers of firearms and ammunition were generally centered in the connecticut river valley during the industrial revolution. and that's why the national shooting sports foundation is in connecticut. >> 2013 marks the 35th anniversary of the shot show. this year, over 630,000 square feet of exhibit space, and more than 60,000 industry professionals. (cheers and applause) >> ladies and gentlemen, the state of our industry tonight, in a word, is misunderstood. now, who among us has not been moved by that unspeakable tragedy that was inflicted by a deranged man upon the children of newtown, connecticut, our
2:16am
very home at the nssf? >> you had said the state of the industry is misunderstood. what's the biggest misunderstanding about it? >> there are many. according to the media we are nothing but a bunch of greedy fat cats who could care less about anything but making profit. we're in this business because we love it. rather than say that guns are bad what we say is guns are here. guns are part of the fabric of our society. and so what we need to do is to make sure that responsible gun owners make sure that they're not accessible to children or at risk individuals. if this woman had safely stored her guns, inaccessible to her son when they were not in use, this shooting would not have occurred. >> in the month since 20 precious children and six brave adults were violently taken from us at sandy hook elementary, more than 900 of our fellow americans have reportedly died at the end of a gun. so i'm putting forward a specific set of proposals. and in the days ahead, i intend
2:17am
to use whatever weight this office holds to make them a reality. (cheers and applause) >> our government is treading a thin, thin line of becoming tyrannical. whether it's king george or barack hussein obama, oppression is oppression. gun control isn't about guns. it's about control. i only have one comment-- i will not comply. >> historically with the pro-gun lobby, they've really become entrenched when challenged. one of the questions i think is, do 20 dead first graders change that equation? >> so far it hasn't. and i think what makes this such an intractable issue is even
2:18am
after sandy hook, there are two camps. the two camps are what we need to make our community safer is fewer guns, and the other camp saying no, what we need to make our community safer is more guns. i don't know where the common ground is on this when it starts that far apart. >> we're 48 days past today. when did you start thinking you have a larger role to play here? >> i feel like we've been forced onto a platform. and i think it... i feel, we feel, a sense of responsibility and a feel of obligation, a sense of obligation now to do whatever we can. >> we're not political, mark and i. we're not, you know, confrontational people. >> but i think we can't allow
2:19am
ourselves to become complacent and just say, "that's how it is in the united states." you know, "these things happen." that's unacceptable. >> i have felt guilt and shame about the fact that in this particular topic i have never done a single thing. i've been awakened, and i will not be caught napping on the job from here on out. >> i just need to do something. because i'm like so many other people. i can't stop thinking about what happened. so... >> i'm richard marotto. i have a first grader at sandy hook. by the grace of god she was shoved in the bathroom along with her 14 friends and her teacher. i won't begin to tell you the things that she says and draws right now. and it's progressively getting worse. so anything we can do for our community. but i think we need to get in the same page.
2:20am
and if someone does speak tomorrow, let's all be on the same page. >> there's a huge silent majority out there that i believe is easily motivated not to be silent any more if we give them the tools. and that's what we're working towards. >> when you go out and you advocate, your power is 1,000 to one, because people aren't showing up. and the fact that you're from newtown is even more important. >> i feel like our grief puts us in a unique position of power. and i actually believe that we can, with that power, help level the playing field with the special interests that are out there. >> and i do think the tide is turning, but our window right now is extremely limited. this is going to move very, very quickly. >> i've never had to wait in line to get in the legislative office building. i've never had to walk through a metal detector to get in the legislative office building. so this is most definitely a moment in my state and the nation as well. >> my name is raymond maza.
2:21am
i'm a resident of farmington, connecticut. i come here in strong opposition of the proposed legislation, including but not limited to house bill 5268, senate bill 140, senate bill 122, senate bill 124... >> my daughter was a student in victoria soto's first grade class. she survived. she and eight other children ran from that room directly past him, but not before witnessing her friends and her teacher slaughtered in front of her. >> so here we are again. another mass shooting, another deranged perpetrator, and the response is yet again ban guns. >> something needs to change. we need to be able to send our kids to school without fear. >> as much as you might detest this thought, at the end of the day, the only protection against a bad man with a gun is a good man or woman with a gun in the right place at the right time. >> guns are a fault line in the sort of varied american experience.
2:22am
and they have this capacity to sort of create this emotional cleave in a way that i think maybe abortion comes close to, but other than that, no other issue really separates the nation this substantially. >> if the principal had come out of her office with a gun in her hand she might have at least mitigated the carnage. >> we are incredulous at the types of assault and semi-automatic weapons and magazine clips that are considered legal. >> a lot of people on both sides think that some change will come. but it will come not as the result of a meeting of the minds of these two far-apart camps, but simply because one side or the other musters sufficient political power to get their way. >> thank you. >> thank you. (cheers and applause)
2:23am
>> tomorrow night, "after newtown" continues on pbs. first, nova investigates new theories about rampage killers, and asks, can science prevent another newtown? then, how can schools detect and deter potentially violent behavior? >> some of them are trailing a sign behind them saying, "i need treatment." >> "after newtown" continues with nova and "the path to violence" tomorrow on most pbs stations. >> go to pbs.org/frontline for exclusive photos of nancy and adam lanza, plus more of the interviews. >> kids were everything to her.
2:24am
>> adam had episodes. >> a web-exclusive report on e nssf, the gun lobby headquartered in newtown, plus more reporting from our partners at the hartford couraon newtown. follfrontline on facebook and twitter, or pbs.org/frontline. >> coming to pbs... >> i am a dakota from the spirit lake nation. >> a story of one woman, tryig to save herself and her family. >> i'm going to keep this family together. >> an intimate story of love.. >> i know that you want your dad, and i know that you miss him. >> loss... >> i can't live without him. >> and triumphs. >> i love you, baby. >> "kind-hearted woman." >> frontline is made possible by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. and by the corporation for
2:25am
public broadcasting. major support for frontline is provided by the john d. and catherine t. macarthur foundation, committed to building a more just, verdant and peaceful world. more information is available at macfound.org. additional funding is provided by the park foundation, dedicated to heightening public awareness of critical issues. and by the frontline journalism fund, with a grant from millicent bell, through the millicent and eugene bell foundation. captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org >> for more on this and other frontline programs, visit our website at pbs.org/frontline.
2:26am
frontline"raising adam lanza" is available on dvd. to order, visit shoppbs.org, or call 1-800-play-pbs. frontline is also available for download on itunes.
2:27am
2:28am
2:29am
stocks fell on worries that china might... announcer: the new pbs for ipad app.